I have begun the process of self-reflection. Really looking at everything in my life. Looking at the fork in the road I have come to, the paths that I had crossed, and ultimately what was and was not working for me. I had become so numb for so long refusing to feel and let my emotions become me that I had become overwhelmingly flooded with everything all at once. Overwhelm being an understatement of course. If I didn’t accept what happened and in my mind think it was a real event than it never did, right? Even though I absolutely knew that it had, and continually was still happening physically, I still didn’t want to deal with pushing through the feelings of knowing that this was my new life and feeling the raw emotions of what happened – including the dissolving of relationships, and the power of people’s actions.
I knew that if I didn’t put on the brave face I wouldn’t have made it through. There was two options, two choices to make. If I didn’t choose to push through, moving my feelings to the side then I wouldn’t have been able to get married, I wouldn’t have been able to walk down the aisle. Choosing to succumb to my emotions would have been a disaster. I would have had a meltdown and saw no end in sight, no goal to focus on. I might have seemed okay on the outside (relatively speaking), a positive attitude, a determined mind, but I was broken inside. I didn’t know how to get through each day.
All I needed to do was keep going like this. Who needed to feel things anyways? I was doing fine moving forward without accepting what had happened. It would have been nice to keep going like that forever, but I am learning that your mind and body do not work that way. I had and was going to eventually crash and surrender to every pain I had ever felt stabbing in my heart and tear I held back. It was never going to be that easy. It slowly started on a week before my wedding day and never left. With a room that full of love and that many people an anxiety attack strikes you down like a lightening rod. The room spinning, walls closing in, it was defeating. I was only one person. I couldn’t get hit anymore. My cup runneth over.
What needed to happen was change. Change in myself. Reflection over what had happened since May. And acceptance. It has truly has been a process. What I have learned about myself over these past few months are many things. My outlook has changed. What was once important is not now. People who were once significant figures no longer needed to play an integral part in my life. Through self-reflection, I realized who had stood by me when I needed it the most are those that I needed close by. During my fragile state pre, during and post hospital stay I unfortunately, found this out in a dramatic fashion. I don’t blame anyone. I made decisions to not see anyone accept family members and even those visits were very hard for me. I was not myself, physically, emotionally and mentally. Things are said in those situations that are not meant in malice, but because there is nothing else to say, which in retrospect makes it worse. I was just trying to make it through my physical therapy sessions and grasp if we were going to cancel the wedding or not. If I could compile a list of do’s and don’t’s when visiting a patient in the hospital, tell them they look amazing (I knew I didn’t but hearing I looked like sh!t, even jokingly wasn’t funny). Telling me that you could decorate my walker to go to my bridal shower, I know came from a good place, but that was supposed to be a special celebration that I was now forced to face being stared at. Please note to everyone, don’t get sick before your wedding.
Everyone always says when you go through a tragic event you will know who “your people” are. I never wanted to believe that, never wanted to choose to believe that just because someone got sick a relationship would change. Why should a relationship change or take for someone to realize what you mean to them because of terrible circumstances? In contrast, when someone is in a tragic state, that is when you show compassion the most and demonstrate how much your relationship means to you. I remember going to my first major event (outside of our wedding) and I started having an episode. I tried to push through but needed to sit down. People turned away. Refusing to make eye contact and turned their backs. It was easier to turn away then to treat me as a person and ackowledge that I was still me. Yes, my face was melting and my left side was not working, but I was still Katie. I wanted to say, “Don’t turn away like I have a contagious disease”. It made me feel like I was ‘that kid’ in high school or did actually have a contagious disease and have to be quarenteed. Slowly I didn’t hear from people. Who wants to be stared at along with ‘that’ girl when they are out.
Relationships evolve. People change. It in inevitable and that is life. It is not something to turn sour about but something to accept. You cannot change people but you can grieve the process of how your paths might not stay intertwined. For me this was difficult. You learn quickly when in a situation where you are vulnerable and weak, who is there to console you, and sit with you in silence. It is simple as just show up. Not for themselves in a parade of selfishness that in turn comforts their own ego, but for you. In that moment, your needs outweigh their constant attention seeking ways. You learn quite quickly that when tragedy meets selfish ego, you will never win, during any circumstance. That is okay. That is something you have to accept first in order to move forward.
What once was something so sacred as a relationship between two people was not anymore. That is something I have realized and come to accept. I have opened the door to feel a flood of raw emotions. People grow up and change, but that does not take into consideration their compassion towards others in a vulnerable and emotional state. Their character does not change. That is and always was who they are. Their core shone brighter when there is no other noise to distract you. This has been one of the hardest things to do. Having to re-evaluate your relationships when you know and have come to realize they are not good for you. A lot has happened to me in these past months, losing relationships has been one of the most difficult truths that I have had to face. Facing that these relationships are no longer authentic to who I have become or know that they are not really true friendships that will stand the test of time or the test of anything for that matter. It was very hard to face an inauthentic version of what the truth was and face up to what had happened. The numbness that had once held me together faded away to anger and rage for what happened, not only my illness but how I had gotten inadvertently hurt in the process. Someone very wise and dear to me told me anger is poison and I believe so much in that. I still share disappointment in the fact that this is what was left, shattered and in pieces and with casualties. I feel that through accepting what happened this is part of the process. Understanding my new normal includes relationships and the events that surrounded May.